Two groups request tax abatements

Two groups appeared before the Minneota City Council Monday night asking for tax abatements in an effort to keep both operating. One received a favorable report and the other ... not so much!

Eric Buysse of City Bar and Grill told the council the business is looking for a tax break on the proposed $400,000 addition to the bar that would house a restaurant.

“We’re looking for any help we can get to get the project going,” Buysse said.

“I feel it’s important to any community,” said Councilman Jerry Teigland. Councilwoman Amber Rodas said she was for it and Councilmen Travis Gillund and Tim Koppien agreed.

The council agreed to have a public hearing concerning abatement of taxes for the business. Attorney John Engels spoke about the tax break on how it is structured.

“We could put a cap on a dollar amount, do it on time or however you want to do it. You can pick a number or a percentage.”

“We did one on low income housing in Hendricks. We did another cap in Ghent on a total dollar amount or taxes over a period of time, whichever was less,” the attorney said.

“It can be done over a period of time,” he advised. “You can be sort of creative with these things,” Attorney Engels said. “There is not a hard or fast rule. I think there are grounds to do it on this project.”

He said the building wasn’t in great shape, they would be increasing business in the community and the lot is too small for most people to build on.

“There are a lot of good reasons to do this.”

He added, “Abating the taxes on this project makes it more feasible.” “You would have to call for a public hearing and consider it at a later date,” said Attorney Engels. He said the council was well-within its authority to abate taxes.

Golf Course needs help

“The golf course needs help,” said Mike Fier of the golf club board.

“We had a rough year last year and its not much better this year,” he reported. “The time is going to come when we’re going to have to close the doors,” said Fier.

“I don’t know what else we can do,” he added. While he sided with the idea of helping the golf course, Attorney Engels said, “It doesn’t fit the same criteria of a tax abatement as a business that employs people and increases business in the community.”

He indicated the city could try and gain an abatement of taxes for the golf course but they would have to prove the need to the state.

“It just doesn’t meet the criteria as well,” Engels said. “Our payroll runs close to $100,000. We do supply a payroll,” said Fier.

“We’re here to describe our problem. It’s not a pretty situation,” said Shawn Boerboom, also of the board. “We’re going to lose money year after year,” Fier said.

“A tax break wouldn’t make a big difference, but it would help. A golf course is a big asset to the whole community,” he said.

“So what do you need from us?” asked Boerboom.

“A detailed plan,” was the answer. “I think it can be put together,” said Mayor John Rolbiecki.

“We are open to any consideration,” said the mayor. He indicated the council was interested in helping the golf club if possible.

IN OTHER action the board:

•Approved the preliminary budget of 5.74 percent for 2018. By the time it is approved officially, it can be lowered but not raised. As a result, city’s start high and trim as they go along. The total levy is $535,677 at this time.

•Approved zoning permits as follows: City Bar and Grill for an addition to the building to add a restaurant; David Myrvik for a garage at 410 N. Monroe; Richard Nuytten for a house with attached garage at 506 Truman; Ann Przymus of 400 N. Grant for a patio with fence; Kurt Gillund for Rite-Way Drainage for a 32’x32’ pole shed just north of the bus garage in the industrial park.

•Did not approve the installation of a sidewalk from Hwy. 68 into Veteran’s Park. American Legion commander Jim Fink asked to approve the application. Two parking spaces would be abandoned and the council was not in favor of eliminating the parking spots. The Legion was planning on installing sidewalks into the park from both parking lots located on each side of the park.

•Approved a three percent fire rate increase for townships. The rate will increase from $18.30 to $187.80. The request was asked to offset a subsidy increase.

•Approved a three-percent increase in ambulance rates from $6 to $6.20.

Byron Higgin

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